Social Security is a complex federal system, which many people view as a mystery. At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., L.P.A., we help individuals who are suffering from disabilities to understand and make sense of the laws and programs they must navigate in order to pursue the disability benefits they need.
We understand that a disability can make it difficult for you to work and greatly reduce the money you have available to take care of yourself and your loved ones. But there is hope. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, you may be able obtain the benefits you deserve, including successfully appealing the denial of your initial claim.
Here, we discuss different types of benefits available to Ohio residents:
What Is SSD in Ohio?
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are commonly called SSDI or, simply, SSD benefits. These are earned benefits that a worker can receive if the worker becomes disabled at some point during his or her working life. However, the worker must meet specific eligibility requirements in order to qualify for SSD benefits. In general, the worker must have been employed within the last 10 years and paid into the Social Security system enough “work credits” to earn the benefit.
Meeting the work credit requirement is fairly straightforward for newly disabled individuals who are middle-aged and suffer a serious injury or change in health condition. It can be much more complicated to meet for someone with a chronic condition that develops when they are too young to have earned the required work credits or someone who has been unemployed for unrelated reasons for a number of years before becoming disabled such as a stay-at-home mom. So, not all applicants will qualify for SSD benefits even if they suffer from a qualifying disability.
What Is SSI in Ohio?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a means-tested benefit. In other words, qualification depends on both your disability and your income. According to the Social Security Administration, this benefit is designed to help those who have very limited financial resources and are blind, disabled or over age 65.
SSI can be very helpful in situations where a person becomes disabled early in life or as a minor child. Because these individuals may not have been able to work long enough to accrue the necessary work credits for SSD benefits, SSI is often available to assist them with basic needs.
What is RSDI in Ohio?
Finally, RSDI refers to Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance. Much like other Social Security programs, this is primarily a benefit for surviving spouses. It is payable to:
- A disabled child of deceased person, or
- The widow or widower of a deceased person.
For a survivor to qualify for RSDI benefits, the deceased family member must have paid into the Social Security system long enough to accrue the necessary work credits – just like with SSD benefits.
How Can a Lawyer Help You Explore Your Disability Benefits Options in Ohio?
A large percentage of all disability benefits claims are initially denied. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration’s own numbers, as of 2010, only about 38 percent of initial claims for benefits were approved. So, the majority of claimants are initially denied. Typically, when individuals refile their applications multiple times, they do not increase their chances of an award, either. Pursuing an appeal is the better option.
The reasons for denials are primarily based on technicalities or on the medical evidence. An experienced Social Security disability benefits lawyer can help by appealing your denial. Here are just a few of the key ways an attorney from Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., L.P.A can assist in the appeal process:
- Careful review of the application. An application for disability benefits can be denied due to many different types of technical errors. For instance, perhaps you were denied SSI because you made more than the threshold last year. Upon review of the application, we may be able to show that the income was improperly calculated or certain exemptions were not properly applied. Similarly, your work credits may have been miscalculated for SSD benefits.
- Careful review of the medical evidence. More commonly, the problem comes down to medical evidence that does not support an award of disability benefits. Many physicians do not understand the legal standards applicable to SSD and SSI claims. So, even though they may want to help, their records and reports do little to help those who review your application. We may need to refer you to a specialized medical expert who understands disability claims. These experts can review your records and re-evaluate your disability to help the SSA understand your conditions and limitations. In other situations, the SSA just got it wrong, even based on the existing evidence.
- Diligent advocacy. If the medical evidence supports an award, we can get to work on presenting your appeal. We have extensive experience with representing clients in hearings before administrative law judges. We will know how to present your medical evidence and explain to an ALJ why you deserve disability benefits.
Get Help from Our Ohio Disability Attorneys
If you have been denied Social Security disability benefits, we know that you may be struggling to survive. The denial of your claim can create stress and anxiety for you and your loved ones. While we can do nothing to change the system and the lengthy delays in resolving an appeal, our skilled disability benefits lawyers can help you to avoid costly mistakes that can create even longer delays, and we can present the aggressive advocacy you need.
Our attorneys have decades of experience with representing disabled claimants throughout Northeastern Ohio’s Mahoning Valley to pursue the benefits they need and deserve. We can put that experience to work for you today. We will never charge upfront fees, and we will only get paid if we succeed in securing benefits for you. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.
Robert L. Heller has practiced law in Ohio for nearly 40 years, devoting his entire career to helping disabled people in the Mahoning Valley to pursue needed benefits. A native of Warren, Ohio, Robert earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. He also studied public administration at American University in Washington, D.C. He is admitted to practice in Ohio state courts, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as well as a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR).